Schwartz: Monte Kiffin changed football

IRVING, Texas -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz has never worked with Monte Kiffin, but he has immense respect for the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator.

Schwartz made his bones as a defensive coach and studied Kiffin from afar.

On a conference call this week Schwartz called Kiffin, “one of the greatest defensive coordinators in the history of the National Football League and a guy that changed football.”

He then went on to put Kiffin in the same sentence with Bill Walsh.

“There’s a lot of things that come up as the league goes, the West Coast offense with Bill Walsh,” Schwartz said. “If you look around the NFL now there’s 32 teams that all have West Coast principles in their offense. It’s been an enduring legacy for a guy like Bill Walsh or even going back before my time, but you can see the history of a Paul Brown and what he did in the NFL. And I think that Monte Kiffin is no different.

"Twenty years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have been the only team that was running that Tampa-2 coverage and that Tampa-2 scheme and now there’s 32 teams that will have that in their coverage at some point, whether they go to a lot or not. So that legacy has lasted for him. He’s been an outstanding coordinator wherever he’s been. They played a really good game last week against the Eagles, only giving up three points and picking off a bunch of passes. He’s certainly one of the greatest coordinators in history. It’s good to have him back in the NFL. He’s going to make life tough on our offense. We’re going to have to play our very best to stay one move ahead of a very good defensive coordinator.”